Courtesy St. Michael’s Sports Information
RINDGE, N.H. – In its second-highest-scoring game in the past decade, the Saint Michael’s College men’s basketball team won at nationally-regarded Franklin Pierce University, 106-91, on Thursday evening for its first win in the Franklin Pierce Fieldhouse since January 2001. The Purple Knights improved to 15-5 overall and 10-5 in the Northeast-10 Conference, while the Ravens are now 16-4 and 11-4. Franklin Pierce is receiving votes toward this week’s National Association of Basketball Coaches’ (NABC) national poll.
Saint Michael’s also knocked off the Ravens on Nov. 23 when they were ranked 23rd nationally, sweeping a season series from Franklin Pierce for the first time since 2000-01. The Purple Knights posted their highest point total since needing four overtimes to notch 109 on Jan. 11, 2012, at Southern Connecticut State University. The last time they hit triple figures during a game that did not extend beyond regulation was on Nov. 15, 2004, in a 108-87 triumph at Davis & Elkins (W.Va.) College. This season marks only the 14th time in more than 90 years of basketball that the Purple Knights are at least 15-5 through 20 games.
Purple and Gold junior James Cambronne recorded 26 points and 10 rebounds for his ninth 20-point performance in 13 games, and classmate Corey Crawford II shot 5-of-6 from three-point range while notching a career-high-tying 26 points and six assists. Saint Michael’s held a 45-27 advantage on the glass and shot 57.1 percent (12-of-21) from beyond the arc.
Junior Mike Holton Jr. tacked on 19 points and three helpers, sophomore Greg Grippo canned three threes and finished with 13 points, and first-year Matt Bonds collected nine points and nine rebounds. Junior Mike Thompson hauled in seven caroms,
Senior Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris posted 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Ravens, who committed only four turnovers and took 34 of their 75 shots from three-point range, hitting 14. Classmate Ant Lessane notched 17 points, junior Ryen Vilmont shot 4-of-5 from deep for 16 points, and first-year Donte Gittens had 13 points and eight helpers.
Lessane forced the second tie of the second half at 16:21 when he knocked down a three, creating a 57-all score, but Grippo drained a trey four seconds later to put the Purple Knights back on top, sparking a 13-5 run. Grippo capped the stretch at 13:22 by hitting three free throws to produce a 70-62 advantage. However, Franklin Pierce scored the next seven points before Vilment knotted the contest at 79 on a triple with 8:24 remaining.
From there, Cambronne continued a stretch of scoring 10 straight Purple Knight points, a run that ultimately extended to him scoring 15 points in a matter of 4:54 that he completed by burying a three-pointer with 4:15 remaining, giving Saint Michael’s a 95-87 lead. The Ravens never came closer than six down the stretch, as the visitors shot 9-for-10 on free throws in the final 1:29 of the contest.
In a first half that featured 14 points in the opening 1:04 alone, the Purple Knights forged a pair of five-point leads in the first 2:55 before Holton dropped in a lay-up and a three-pointer 24 seconds apart to push the visitors in front by a 24-17 count just 5:07 into the contest. Franklin Pierce rallied for a trio of advantages, as the teams exchanged the lead nine times during the first half. With the Ravens on top 35-34 after two Perdikaris free throws at 8:17, sophomore Will Davis put home a go-ahead bucket 23 seconds later, and Saint Michael’s slowly built its lead back to seven, 49-42, on Holton’s hoop with 29 ticks left. The visitors took a 49-45 edge into halftime after Lessane’s late triple.
The Purple Knights head to Stonehill College on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. contest.